Annual Congress 2021 - Fit for 55 : Who paves the way ? Who pays the bill ?
Brussels, 10 November 2021.
This year’s edition of the annual CEDEC Congress was organised for the first time in CEDEC’s history in a hybrid format, allowing attendants to take part in the congress live (in “3D”) in Brussels as well as giving stakeholders from further away the opportunity to follow virtually on their screens. The Congress attracted more than 150 participants from all over Europe, including high-level speakers and representatives of local energy companies, European institutions and Member States.
The focus was evidently on the “Fit for 55”, the long awaited and biggest European energy and climate package ever – which manages to put the Clean Energy Package concluded in 2019 in the shade. The European Commission proposal, published on July 2021 will set the legal framework to achieve the new ambitious 2030 target on the way towards climate neutrality in 2050.This year’s edition of the CEDEC Congress provided a timely occasion for a first evaluation of this package.
Notably the discussion centred on the impact the proposed provisions will have on different actors in the local energy value chain, industrial sectors and on consumers. The last months of skyrocketing energy prices, more than ever showed us the importance of keeping energy affordable and of a cost-effective decarbonisation. Allowing all sustainable technologies to bring in their added value will be part of the complex answer.
Catharina Sikow Magny(Director for Green Transition and Energy System Integration, DG ENER) underlined three elements addressing the audience of the CEDEC 2021 Congress in the opening session: “First, our future energy system will be increasingly decentralized giving local actors – be it local producers, DSOs or energy suppliers – a central role in the energy transition.Second, we need to make sure that no one is left behind, especially vulnerable customers. Costs that customers cannot bear must be compensated and we need to help making their houses energy efficient. Third, as the energy transition goes hand in hand with decentralization and integration of energy systems, local energy companies arevery well placed to benefit from the energy transition.”
CEDEC’s President and SWM München CEO, Dr Florian Bieberbach highlighted the contributions of local energy companies to the debate: “We as public utilities and local energy companies are fully aware of our responsibility and accountability to reach the EU climate goals. Whereas the common rules are set on European level, the implementation will be done at local level. From our perspective - very close to the citizens and end-consumers – the characteristics of cities and villages and the availability of local energy resources will be determining factors for the local strategies concerning heating and transport: a “one-size-fits-all”-approach will not work for the energy transition.”
The opening panel was followed by several sessions examining specific aspects of the Fit for 55 Package. The speakers in the “No time to waste technologies”session held a common plea to stop silo-thinking and to support integrated approaches, underlining the potential of cogeneration and hydrogen at local level.
In a dedicated session on “Fit for 55 & the heating revolution: the feasibility check”, the speakers discussed the decarbonisation of heating in buildings, and its feasibility in terms of different sustainable technologies and affordability for end-consumers.
The final session “Electricity, gas and heat system operators, the flexibility enablers” zoomed in on the distribution grid operators: in order to maximize the integration of an increasingly rising amount of renewables injected into their energy systems, they will have to develop the necessary flexibility tools, also enabling flexibility services.
CEDEC hopes that the open debate – live on stage – on these strategic issues will inspire the negotiations on the Fit for 55 Package, paving the way for an innovative and integrated energy system in the future, with a central role for decentralised energy actors.
For more information on the congress and speaker’s presentations, please click here.
CEDEC Background information
CEDEC represents the interests of more than 1500 local and regional energy companies, serving 85 million electricity and gas customers & connections.
These predominantly small and medium-sized local and regional energy companies are active in every part of the value chain and have developed activities as local electricity and heat generators, distribution system operators for electricity, gas and heating & cooling (including metering & data management), and energy (services) suppliers.
The wide range of services provided by local utility companies is reliable, sustainable and close to the customer. Through their investments and the creation of local jobs, they make a significant contribution to local and regional economic development.